Poltergeist, Friday the 13th, Nightmare on Elm Street, and Pet Cemetery are movies from my childhood. Each movie is scary in its own special way, and they all generate suspense and fear that transcends the theater experience. We imagine things lurking in the shadows or hear strange noises in the night. Fear is powerful—it can make you run faster than you thought possible or freeze you dead in your tracks.
To control fear, we sometimes try to trick ourselves by saying, “It’s not real” or “This isn’t happening.” Our mind plays tricks on us, and we try anything and everything to ignore it.
Likewise, managers and executives often ignore the possibility of fraud in their organizations even if the risks are high. They don’t necessarily do this out of fear, but out of ignorance. They say, “It will never happen to us” or “That person would never steal.” This ignorance can lead to significant losses, which should frighten any business leader. Beware…the fraudster is lurking in your organization. They are hiding behind a desk in plain sight. They are dressed like you and me.
Fraud can be a scary thing if you aren’t prepared for it. It isn’t scary like Freddy Krueger or Jason Voorhees. It is scary because you will lose real dollars. The longer you ignore it the more money you lose. If you plan properly, you can mitigate losses from fraud, which can lead to greater profits. You can cover your eyes the next time you watch a scary movie, but don’t cover your eyes to try to ignore the fraudsters lurking in your organization.
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